The 5 Craziest Things People Are Doing With Dead Animals
Historically, dead bodies are a drag. We bury them, we burn them, and on the rare occasions that they start lumbering around eating the living, we destroy their brains. But a growing field of intrepid individuals are changing all that. More and more people are saying, "Corpse schmorpse, let's do something with that collection of rotting flesh and bone!" (And you know they must feel pretty strongly about it, because "corpse schmorpse" is a really lame thing to say.)
Go ahead, say "corpse schmorpse." Uncomfortable, right?
So the next time you have a dead body, whether it be something you hunted, purchased, or even once loved, why not let one of these meat puppet maestros work their magic? After all, there are so many fun and exciting ways to play with the dead, and only some of them give you the plague or trigger the wrath of angry ghosts.
While the good folks at the Umbrella Corporation have not yet managed to give us the real-life zombies we desperately crave, at least we still live in a world where mummies exist. When you hear the word "mummy," you probably think of some ancient Egyptian ritual only practiced by strange mystics. But today, it's a normal scientific process performed by your average medical clinician. Yep. Just ask New York mummifier Sorceress Cagliastro.
To find a picture of Ms. Cagliastro from 10 years earlier, just search Suicide Girls until you find a bio including "removing the brains from dead things with pliers" in the "hobbies" section.
Using a homemade "trade secret" salt-based solution, Cagliastro is able to mummify your pet for anywhere from $800 to $4,000. She's done many animals, including a macaw, a millipede, a peacock, a guinea pig, and an armadillo.
Technically, the millipede wasn't a mummification so much as a margarita-based accident at a dive bar where Cagliastro had been moonlighting.
She's also done a stillborn puppy. Unfortunately, the Disney Channel axed the Puppy Mummy pilot to make room for Dog With a Blog.
Related: Mummies Got Packed With Mummy Snacks
All the world's art critics agree that the best artists seek to answer one question: Can this piece make me crap my pants while simultaneously instilling fear in my unborn children? Fortunately, a growing number of taxidermy artists have come forward to say yes we can!
Take sculptor Kate Clark, who combines natural animal remains, sculpting materials, and direct messages from Satan to create these works:
Pictured above: Two reasons you never piss off a wizard.
And now with Etsy providing a forum, artists like Kelly Zepha Owen who might not have gallery exhibits can explore the growing field of taxidermy art.
"Our next trick? Getting you to stop screaming someday."
And even artists who can't rise to the challenge of the provocative can still endeavor to do truly misguided and terrible things to dead animals. Just take Orville the Helicopter Cat!
They call death the great equalizer, but somehow it seems that Orville lost a lot more than most people here.
Whereas most pet owners would grieve over their loss, Dutch artist Bart Jansen saw beauty. Of course, not possessing any of the artistic skill necessary to achieve that beauty, he strapped some propellers on a corpse, and voila!
Sure, your dog may have been your best friend. He may have awoken you during that fire or pulled Timmy from the well, but when he dies, it's time to remind him that he's a possession. Go ahead. It's your prerogative. I mean, why did you spend all that time feeding him and cleaning up his crap if not to earn the right to show him who's boss when there's nothing he can do about it?
Not so tough, are you now?
Perhaps that's what the owner of Buck -- once the Guinness World Record holder for largest Saint Bernard -- was thinking when his dog passed away. With a heavy heart, Buck's owner sawed off his head and preserved it like any other hunting trophy. Indeed, Buck's head was so freakishly large, the taxidermist had to use a grizzly bear mold to mount it. But when you care enough about a dead dog to display part of its body in a Utah bar like an award, you're willing to go that extra mile.
Picture this: You move to California to start your new life as a medium who speaks to the dead. One day, while shopping for gluten-free gluten at Trader Joe's, you bump into a crazy-haired Englishwoman. One thing leads to another, and "my husband, the insane nerd loser millionaire" this and "Johnny Depp" that, and suddenly it dawns on you that you're speaking to Helena Bonham Carter.
"This is a picture of me from that movie where I played a crazy-haired eccentric."
The next thing you know, she's inviting you over for her anniversary party, to be held inside Vincent Price's mausoleum. Great. BUT WHAT WILL YOU WEAR?!
This is something that's happened to all of us, but now, with the growing field of dead stuff jewelry and clothing, you'll always look your best when partying with the Burtons.
Why not a tasteful jacket from Alexander McQueen? Something that says, "Let's go out dancing, then out to a fine restaurant, and then home, where I will murder you."
Some pieces make more subtle use of animal remains, but subtlety won't get you on top of Lady Gaga's head, like this crafty rat headdress with bedazzled tail crafted from glitter-dusted childhood trauma:
Only two rats, because more would be distasteful.
Related: Jewelry Under $50 Your Mom Will Love
Of course, sometimes the best thing to do with someone or something you've lost is to never let them die. Ever. That's just what Bernann McKinney was thinking in 2006 when her pit bull, Booger, died of cancer. (Initial reports that he died of embarrassment after someone explained his name to him have proven false.) Y'see, McKinney was a big fan of Booger because he once saved her life from a vicious dog attack. In fairness to her canine attacker, McKinney had probably tried to name him Snotty, Puke, or Sir Mucus before the assault.
"Seriously, lady. I'd prefer something like 'Champ' or 'Dodger.'"
Anyway, McKinney sent some of Booger's cells and $50,000 off to South Korean scientists, who produced the first commercially cloned offspring in 2009. You might think that's a little disturbing, but that's probably because you haven't heard McKinney explain her thought process:
"I believe that Booger was an angel that God rented out to me for a short period of time ... And he knew I would be lost without him, so he sent me some more. He sent me five more mini-Boogers."
Let's break that down. God wanted McKinney to have Booger for a short time. I'm guessing that's why he smote Booger with cancer -- because he had a plan that McKinney only deserved a temporary angel. Furthermore, God knew McKinney would be lost without an angel, which I guess is further support for the smiting. Next, God sent McKinney more Boogers. Except he didn't. Even if there is a God creating canine angels in his kingdom, these cloned dogs clearly had nothing to do with that. These weren't divine acts of creation, but expensive imported products. Lastly, "mini-Boogers" is a really gross phrase. Stop it.
But hey. To each his own. McKinney converted one cancer-ridden dead dog into five new puppies with the exact same genetic material, so I'm guessing that's like five soon-to-be-cancer-ridden dead dogs.
Watch the new HATE BY NUMBERS, where Will.i.am of the Black Eyed Peas recruits Britney Spears to make even worse music. And come see Gladstone do stand-up at the Gotham Comedy Club in New York City at 9:30 p.m. on Wednesday, February 20, 2013.